The 15 Best Disney Channel Movies
I used to live for Disney Channel Movies growing up! I remember setting the VCR to try to record them when they came on because I wished I could watch them whenever I wanted. Now, with Disney Plus, I can watch all of my favorite Disney Channel movies whenever I want! Disney Plus has over 100 Disney Channel movies to choose from, but I narrowed this list down to the best 15. These Disney Channel Original Movies, aka DCOMs, have the best stories, music or characters.
The 15 Best Disney Channel Movies
High School Musical (2006) – Troy and Gabriela meet by chance singing karaoke while on vacation with their families for winter break. Once they return to school their paths cross again because Gabriela is a new transfer student. Their social circles are completely different and the two are encouraged to stay away from each other and not disrupt the “status quo” by auditioning for the school musical.
I love High School Musical. The songs, the dance routines, Zac Efron. What’s not to love?! This is one of many Disney Channel movies directed by the legendary Kenny Ortega, aka the man responsible for films like Hocus Pocus and The Newsies. The film was so popular that there was a sequel and a third film with a theatrical release. There was also a concert tour (which I attended haha) and schools all around the world turned it into an actual high school theater production. Even 15 years later the movie is popular enough that Disney+ created a new show inspired by it called, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which was renewed for a second season.
Double Teamed (2002) – This DCOM is actually based on a the true story of Heidi and Heather Burge and their rise to WNBA stardom. Heidi and Heather are twins whose father moves them to a new, larger high school in hopes of having them noticed by college volleyball scouts. However, before long the girls are noticed (due to be very tall) by the basketball coach, who recruits them for the team. They begin to develop into excellent basketball players, but are torn deciding if basketball is really the right path for both of them.
Zenon (1999) – Zenon is a regular teen girl that’s into fashion and pop stars. The only catch is that she lives on a space station. She is constantly getting into trouble and ends up being grounded. Literally. She is sent back to Earth. And the adventures definitely don’t end there. Plus, it has one of the best original songs from a fictional band of any of the Disney Channel movies. “Zoom Zoom Zoom!” 😉
Halloweentown (1998) – A young girl named Marnie discovers on Halloween that she is descended from a long line of witches. Her estranged grandmother comes to town and needs her to help save her world, Halloweentown. It’s a magical place, full of fantastical creatures and beings, but those beings are starting to disappear. Marnie and her siblings, need to solve the mystery and save Halloweentown. Definitely a Halloween Disney Channel movie classic!
Descendants (2015) – The kids of some of the most notorious Disney villains, like Maleficent, Jafar and the Evil Queen are exiled with their parents on the Isle of the Lost. They are invited by the son of Belle and the Beast, the future king of Auradon, to attend school with the kids of the “heroes.” Will they use the time at school to destroy Auradon, or use the opportunity to turn a new leaf? Another DCOM musical winner directed by Kenny Ortega.
The Cheetah Girls (2003) – Four teen friends, Galleria, Chanel, Aqua and Dorinda, join together to form a musical group to perform at a school talent show. They are discovered by a famous producer, but he wants to change everything about them. The pressures of chasing fame challenge the girls and their friendship. This is another of Kenny Ortega’s Disney Channel movies, so expect excellent choreography and music.
The Color of Friendship (2000) – This movie is one of the most impactful Disney Channel movies that I’ve ever seen. It is based on the actual events of a friendship between Mahree and Piper. The events of the film take place in 1977, while South Africa was protesting the apartheid system and the oppression of black South Africans. Piper, the daughter of a black Congressman, is very excited for her family to host a South African exchange student. Her family is openly opposed to apartheid and fights for racial equality. Mahree is a wealthy white South African girl who’s family benefits from the apartheid system and is blind to oppression black South Africans face. Neither of the girls are prepared for the shock of meeting each other or the friendship that grows between them.
The Luck of the Irish (2001) – Teenage basketball player Kyle Johnson has always been extremely lucky. He’s popular, talented and skates through life. The biggest problem in his life is that he doesn’t have any clue about his family heritage to share with his school for Heritage Day. When his lucky charm goes missing, he starts to shrink and his hair turns red he learns that he’s descended from leprechauns. Now he needs to get back his family’s luck or be a leprechaun forever. This DCOM is a must for me every St. Patrick’s Day!
Johnny Tsunami (1999) – Johnny Kapahala is a young surfer growing up in Hawaii whose whole life is turned upside down when his dad’s job relocates his family to Vermont. Johnny struggles to fit in and make friends in Vermont until he meets a snowboarder named Sam. Johnny and Sam become fast friends and Johnny channels his love of surfing into learning to snowboard. This Disney Channel movie was so popular that they released a sequel in 2007.
Gotta Kick It Up (2002) – This another DCOM that was based loosely on a true story. It follows a school dance team, from a mostly Latin-American school, that recruit their Biology teacher, Ms. Bartlett, to be their new dance coach. Ms. Bartlett trained at Julliard is fairly old-fashioned when it comes to dancing, whereas the students want to incorporate more of their Latina heritage into their choreography. The two sides have to find a way to mesh the two together in order to win their dance competitions. This movie was actually one of the earliest works of actress America Ferrara, it released 2 years prior to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Cadet Kelly (2002) – Free-spirited teenager Kelly Collins is in for the shock of her life when her new stepfather takes a job as the head of a military academy and enrolls her. Kelly struggles with the strict rules and the constant abuse of her commanding officer, Jennifer Stone. However, her crush on the captain of the drill team gives her motivation to join the team and excel at it. This movie stars two early 2000’s Disney legends, Hilary Duff and Christy Carlson Romano. Their chemistry as rivals is impeccable.
Brink (1998) – Soul-skater Andy Brinker “Brink” and his friends skate for the love of skating and can’t stand sponsored skaters. That is until Brink’s family run into financial troubles. He joins a sponsored team to help his family, but at the expense of losing the respect of his friends. He’s then faced with choosing his friends versus the sponsored team that’s helping his family make ends meet. This movie was responsible for my crush on Erik von Detten and my skater-phase in middle school.
Tru Confessions (2002) – Tru Walker is an aspiring filmmaker that enters a local filmmaking contest. She decides to create a film about her twin brother Eddie, played by Shia LaBeouf. Eddie mentally disabled due to oxygen deprivation at birth. As airtime for the contest approaches Tru is nervous how audiences will react to her very raw and personal story. This movie is easily the most heartbreaking Disney Channel movie to ever exist. Shia LaBeouf gives an amazing performance as Eddie.
Smart House (1999) – Ben Cooper wins a fully-automated “smart” house in a contest. Life seems to be a dream, until he programs the house to act as a surrogate mother. The computer controlling the house is unable to function with it’s new programing and things take a wild turn. As a kid I always wished that we’d win a smart house because it seemed so fun, minus the out of control AI piece.
Get A Clue (2002) – What happens when you combine Lindsay Lohan, Brenda Song and Bug Hall (aka Alfalfa) into a high school mystery movie on Disney Channel? You get Get A Clue. Lohan plays Lexy Gold, a wealthy prep school student that lives on the Upper Side of New York. Lexy writes the school gossip column, but fancies herself an investigative journalist. When a picture she publishes results in the disappearance of one of her teachers, she and her friends set out to investigate.
What Disney Channel movie is your favorite?